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Qualifying round kicks off season

UEFA.com presents a guide to the qualifying round of the UEFA Women's Champions League, which starts on Saturday, and picks out a few teams to watch.

Standard de Liège and Glasgow City are both aiming for the round of 32
Standard de Liège and Glasgow City are both aiming for the round of 32 ©David Catry

The 2014/15 UEFA Women's Champions League kicks off with the qualifying round running from Saturday to Thursday. There will be live updates from every game in the UEFA.com MatchCentre plus updates on the @UWCL Twitter feed.

The competition
• In all, 32 teams start their campaigns in the qualifying round, which is split into eight sections of four sides. Matches are played on Saturday, Monday and Thursday.

• The eight group winners, plus the two runners-up with the best record against the teams first and third in their section, join the 22 automatic entrants in the 22 August draw for the rounds of 32 and 16, with the two-legged knockout phase beginning in October. The competition will conclude on 14 May in Berlin.

The hosts
• Rīgas FS, CFF Olimpia Cluj, WFC Ekonomist, Glasgow City FC, ŽNK Osijek, WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo, Gintra Universitetas, Clube Atlético Ouriense.

Teams to watch
• FC Zürich Frauen, Glasgow City FC and Konak Belediyespor all reached the round of 16 last year.

• Zürich and Glasgow would be seeded in the round of 32 if they went through. All the other 30 qualifying round contenders would be unseeded.Full entry list with coefficients.

Konak had something to celebrate last season
Konak had something to celebrate last season©Maciej Kozina

• Turkey's Konak and Pärnu Jalgpalliklubi of Estonia were the first sides from their nations to make it through a stage of this competition in last season's qualifying round.

• Apollon LFC have got through the qualifying round four years running. In 2010/11 they caused perhaps the competition's biggest-ever shock with a 4-1 defeat of two-time champions Umeå IK.

• Six teams are making European debuts: KKPK Medyk Konin, AS Amazones Dramas, FC Minsk, FC Hibernians, Rīgas FS, ŽFK Kochani.

• Faroese title holders Klaksvíkar Ítrottarfelag are the only club to have entered all 14 editions of this competition and its predecessor UEFA Women's Cup.

The groups
Group 1:
FC Zürich Frauen (SUI), Konak Belediyespor (TUR), FC Minsk (BLR), Rīgas FS (LVA)*

Group 2: CFF Olimpia Cluj (ROU)*, FC NSA Sofia (BUL), Raheny United FC (IRL), Hibernians FC (MLT)

Group 3: MTK Hungária FC (HUN), WFC Pomurje (SVN), Pärnu Jalgpalliklubi (EST), WFC Ekonomist (MNE)*

Group 4: Glasgow City FC (SCO)*, WFC Kharkiv (UKR), FC Union Nové Zámky (SVK), Glentoran Belfast United FC (NIR)

Group 5: ŽFK Spartak (SRB), ŽNK Osijek (CRO)*, Amazones Dramas AS (GRE), CS Goiador-SS 11-Real (MDA)

Group 6: Apollon LFC (CYP), Klaksvíkar Ítrottarfelag (FRO), Gintra Universitetas (LTU)*, KS Vllaznia (ALB)

Group 7: WFC SFK 2000 Sarajevo (BIH)*, Åland United (FIN), KKPK Medyk Konin (POL), ŽFK Kochani (MKD)

Group 8: R. Standard de Liège (BEL), ASA Tel-Aviv University SC (ISR), Clube Atlético Ouriense (POR)*, Cardiff Met LFC (WAL)


Knockout phase
• The top-two finishers from the top eight ranked leagues plus the champions of the next six nations enter in the round of 32, which like all the knockout rounds apart from the final are played over two legs.

• Holders VfL Wolfsburg are aiming for an unprecedented third title in a row while their German rivals 1. FFC Frankfurt will target a record fourth crown.

• Other likely contenders include two-time winners Olympique Lyonnais, Paris Saint-Germain, Swedish champions FC Rösengard – who have signed Marta from now defunct 2013/14 runners-up Tyresö FF – and debutants Liverpool LFC.

• Notable absentees include Arsenal LFC, who have reached the quarter-finals 11 years in succession and both of last year's beaten semi-finalists, 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam and Birmingham City LFC.